Flip Thomsen passes away

WAUKEGAN, Ill. – Marine coatings leader Philip “Flip” Thomsen died Friday following a bout with liver cancer with his father and sister nearby, Jock West said in an e-mail Monday. He was 62.

Thomsen grew up traveling the world with his family, as his father was responsible for controlling U.S. supplied weapons in various countries. As a child, he spent time in Japan, Yugoslavia, Italy, Spain and France. His international education would serve him well when he grew up.

Following a stint in the Army, Thomsen started his career in marine paints in the early 1970s, first with International Paint and then with Awlgrip Yacht Coatings, selling in Florida and based in Fort Lauderdale. After making the Awlgrip brand the top polyurethane finishing paint for yachts in Florida, he was appointed general sales manager for the United States. He was later named marketing director, responsible for Awlgrip sales worldwide.

In 1980, he was asked to move to Awlgrip’s European headquarters in Belgium. The company’s sales were sputtering in Europe and it was suffering technical problems. Thomsen gathered a quality team around him, with Michel van Dijck as his right hand man. Within three years, he and his team turned the situation around. In 1985, Thomsen moved to Hamburg, Germany to continue expanding the European market.

When Akzo took over the Awlgrip brand in 2002, Thomsen moved to southern France and became a consultant to various marine companies.

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